There are an endless number of great places to ride and great things to see from the saddle in this country, but getting to those places and things (and back) can be a long and tedious (and backbreaking) journey. During my most recent road trip covering 15 states and over 4,500 miles, I spent a great deal of time on highways trying to keep to a decent daily total of 500 miles at least. The more miles you can knock out in a day, the more time you can spend at your destinations.
On this most recent cross-country trip, I had plenty of time to think about adding some accessories to help improve comfort on those long hauls, particularly in my wrists, neck and shoulders. Surprisingly, of all things, my back does well on this bike. But I still thought about the effects of bar risers and highway pegs on the rest of the parts.
Having a set of Rox Risers on hand, I've decided to give them a try. Yup, some time ago I'd purchased a set of Rox Low Pro 1 3/4 Inch Risers from RevZilla and installed them. These risers have both a 1 1/8 inch Stem Clamp Diameter and a 1 1/8 inch Bar Diameter; necessary fitment for the 2015 Versys 1000.
Riser Installation Review:
Riser installation is generally one of the more simpler accessory add, but you do want to make sure that there is no interference with cables, lines or hoses. In addition, you want to make sure that all lines are not taxed too much when the bars are turned fully side to side. We'd had some reports from other owners that the 2 inch Rox Pivot Risers fit so, naturally, the 1.75 inch Riser slipped right into place.
I've initially set the pivot fully forward (as allowed) and set the bar consistent to where it was situated in the factory top clamp. That's the starting point that produced the full rise of 1 3/4 inches and what appears to be 1/2 inch of additional pullback. From that position I need to ride the motorcycle under the same conditions that gave rise (no pun intended) to my desire to install them and make whatever adjustments are necessary to alleviate the conditions. A great reason to make another run up to the Smoky Mountains this summer!
As mentioned, I'm also considering a possible highway peg installation. However, I need to defer that until I get a new belly pan that I've ordered from PowerBronze installed. That belly pan may end up obstructing anything I come up with on the highway pegs so it's best to wait. Shouldn't be long ... stay tuned!
Riser Performance Review:
After installation of the risers, I logged a good number of miles on a trip up to the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina. That provided plenty of opportunity to test the risers on highways, city riding and on twisty roads.
On the highways, the risers did an outstanding job correcting my ergos to produce a much more comfortable and pleasant experience. My back, shoulders, wrists and neck felt great by the end of the first day when I tracked about 350 miles up to Savannah, Georgia. I'm convinced that my fatigue level was substantially reduced, as well. Ditto during the second day when I tracked about 300 miles up to Walhalla, South Carolina and during my ride back home to Florida.
Conversely, the handling performance of the motorcycle on the twisty curvy roads in North Carolina was remarkedly worse. I tested the risers on hundreds of miles of twisty roads including the Dragon, Cherohalla, Blue Ridge and Little Switzerland loop. Specifically, I found that the bike with risers installed seemed to wobble and weave off my line in a fashion that I'd not experienced riding those same roads a couple months earlier. This required a harder lateral push from me to keep on line or get back on line. In addition, I felt that the increased height of the bars was interfering with the riding by increasing the frequency and significance of steering inputs that were necessary on these highly technical roads.
Bottom line, I didn't like the risers in the twisties one bit. I've ridden this bike through thousands of miles of twisty roads and it performs admirably. Sure its sister bike, the Ninja 1000, with it's tighter rake is better and quicker in the turns, but the [unmodified] Versys 1000 holds it's own in my view. What a quandary!
Well, here's the simple answer. We're talking about an accessory that attaches with four bolts and takes a whole five minutes to install and remove. I like the risers on the long hauls and I don't like them in the tight loops. It's easy enough to carry a ratchet with a 6 mm allen and remove/reinstall the risers as needed.
After studying my installation a little more, I found that the bolts provided with the Low Pro Risers are too long and abut with the factory top clamp bolts. This condition (i) won't allow full forward pivot of the riser and (ii) may interfere with torquing of the Rox bolts. Below is the same photo as the last photo above, but I've highlighted where the interference arises. In this photo you can see the Riser bolts abutting the top of the factory top clamp bolts. That's a problem.
My solution was to change the bolts. The bolts provided in the Rox kit are M8 x 30mm with a 1.25 thread pitch. I replaced those bolts with M8 x 25mm and they're flush with the bottom of the riser clamp. Whether all Rox Risers have these bolts that are too long isn't known, but definitely something to take a look at during installation.
I got a great tip to check the play on the hydraulic brake cable with the wheel off the ground. I previously did all my work on the center-stand with the front wheel on the ground. Certainly, there was a little compression in the fork as the front wheel rested on the ground. Perhaps there is a little rebound bump on rough roads too. So after giving it a check with the wheel up I actually felt that the hydraulic cable may become a little too extended and stressed. To alleviate the stress I removed the plastic clamp/bracket on the hose located near the hose/cable retention ring. This extended the play that exists below the retaining bracket all along the hose. I'm now cautioned to keep an eye on the development of any wear on the hose as it may contact the retention ring.